Trump, Not “Liberal Media,” Dividing Republican Party | Donald Trump News

Last month, Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “the liberal media … want to stir up a continuous Republican civil war.” She wrote that “the media reading book begins with the demand that everyone take sides on Donald Trump – love or hate everything about him. The moment someone on the right voices the slightest criticism of the 45th president, the media goes berserk.

Her editorial came amid Republican criticism of her interview with Politico, where she argued that Trump “took a path he shouldn’t have taken, and we shouldn’t have gone, and we didn’t. shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that happen again.

Haley is seen as a more “moderate” member of the Republican Party, a quality these days determined less by ideology than by willingness to criticize Trump or openly propagate conspiracy theories.

If you follow Trump’s recent return to the forefront of politics, including his first major public speech since President Biden’s inauguration in January, it’s not hard to see that it’s not the liberal media that is stirring up the heat. divisions among Republicans is Trump himself.

Trump is the one who “demands that everyone take sides.” Trump is the one who “goes berserk” “as someone on the right offers the insignificant criticism of the 45th President.”

His speech at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28 was a stark reminder that the Republican Party is still Trump’s party and that no matter how Republicans turn it, Trump is holding the GOP hostage. It demands absolute loyalty or political destruction on the part of Republican members of Congress and party officials, and the party leadership should be aware of the dangers of this approach – including that the Republican Party will not be able to win back the government. either house of Congress, let alone the White House. , if Trump continues to divide and dominate the party in this way.

Republican voters still overwhelmingly support Trump

Trump won the straw ballot for the 2024 Republican presidential candidates that was taken at CPAC last week, an event that brings together far-right segments of the Republican Party. He celebrated his lead with 55%, followed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who finished second with 21% of the vote. In a second poll that did not include Trump, Governor DeSantis was the preferred choice. But at the current political moment, it’s hard to imagine the Republican Party without Trump.

A Quinnipiac poll, conducted after Trump was impeached for the second time in the House of Representatives but acquitted by the US Senate, found that 75% of Republican voters want Trump to continue to play a major role in the Republican Party. According to the same poll, most Americans – 55% – think Trump should not be allowed to hold elected office, while 87% of Republicans say he should.

As the poll analyst pointed out, “He may be down, but he’s definitely not at odds with the GOP. Twice indicted, vilified by Democrats during the trial and virtually silenced by social media … despite everything, Donald Trump keeps a solid foot in the Republican Party.

CPAC was held in Orlando, Florida, a state Trump won in the 2020 contest against current President Biden. The conference venue featured a gold statue of the former president, a fan favorite for attendees, while also featuring a scene that many have criticized for resembling a symbol used on Nazi uniforms and popular with white supremacists in Europe and the United States. .

The scene also featured the slogan “Uncancel America” ​​in reference to the so-called “culture of cancellation” which Republicans say is used by “radical Democrats” to limit free speech. The latest iteration of these Culture Cancellation Wars is the debate over racist elements in Dr. Seuss’ children’s books – which Republicans are rallying to defend. Fox News ran coverage all week about how Democrats are unfairly trying to “cancel” these children’s books. A Media Matters report documented that conservative media outlet Fox News spent twice as much time covering this “cultural war of cancellation” as it did discussing the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The conference brought together well-known Trump allies including Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas – both of whom led the charge of failing to certify victory for Biden Electoral College on Election Day. January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The event was also notable for Republicans who did not speak. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did not vote to impeach Trump but publicly criticized, was not invited. Former Vice President Mike Pence declined to attend, preferring to mock after Trump accused him of certifying Biden’s victory and reports showed the Jan.6 rioters were planning to attack him and possibly to assassinate him for his disloyalty to Trump. Former Trump officials who publicly argued with the former president, including Nikki Haley, declined to attend. The third most powerful Republican in Congress, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, also did not attend. His new role as representative of the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party has come at a high political cost in local and national politics.

Trump’s speech to CPAC

In Trump’s speech, a few key points stand out. First, he called reports that he was creating a third party to challenge Republicans “fake news,” saying he would not do anything to divide the vote and hurt Republicans’ chances at the polls. He peddled the usual conspiracy theories that have become known to most Americans and the world, including baseless allegations of widespread electoral fraud, racist tropes about immigrants, the cancellation of cultural debates and tirades about the way his administration was the most successful that has ever existed. Towards the end of the speech, in a not-so-thinly veiled threat, he very slowly nominated all of the Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him, leaving the audience to respond with fiery anger and loud boos. He ended the list with Republican enemy of Congress Cheney. Trump has already pledged to support major challenges against his candidacy in the 2022 midterm election and has publicly called for his removal from the Republican leadership.

The Republican Party has responded harshly to its support for the former president’s impeachment, and many have tried, unsuccessfully, to organize a vote to remove her from power.

Trump’s speech was more than his usual tirade against “radical Democrats” and Joe Biden. It was a rallying cry against the Republican Party of Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney. It was yet another unwavering demand for full loyalty to Trumpism as a prerequisite for membership in the Republican Party.

Will Trump run again in 2024?

He left the conference audience hanging over whether he would run for president in 2024, saying, “Who knows, I might even decide to beat them for the third time,” to which the room responded. with thunderous applause. He will likely keep the option of running for president for a while to maintain his political relevance and, quite simply, to earn more money.

But Trump faces a barrage of civil and criminal lawsuits and investigations into his conduct regarding his businesses, his challenge to the 2020 election results, and a host of other issues. The loss of the election and the transition from president to private citizen leaves him open to more prosecution, not to mention jail time, which he was previously able to avoid thanks to certain privileges of immunity generally granted to US presidents. The conduct of these prosecutions will help answer questions surrounding any future presidential candidacy.

Whether he can remain relevant without his social media platforms and the presidential bully’s chair throughout Biden’s tenure is also an open question. His popularity is still unchallenged among most Republicans, but it wasn’t until two months after Biden’s first term. Plus, Republicans are already thinking about other potential candidates, including Florida Gov. DeSantis and even former Vice President Mike Pence.

But if Trump cannot be the king, he will insist on being the kingmaker. If that means stoking divisions within the Republican Party, if not destroying it, you can be sure that is what it will do. And Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. It was not the liberal media that pushed Republicans to tie their political futures to the success or failure of Trumpism and, contrary to what Nikki Haley claims, it is not the liberal media that sows discord among Republicans. . It’s a monster of their own creation.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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